The River Tay System provides the angler with the opportunity to fish for one or more of the species in the waters, all year round.
This vast area has been subdivided into sections for ease in identifying geographic areas and centres in which to base fishing, and within these sections are listed the sale points for permits.
Although much of the available fishing is under the jurisdiction of angling clubs, there are parts which are directly under the control of Riparian Owners.
The whole system offers a range of angling for various categories of fishermen. Indigenous Brown Trout, Arctic Char, Grayling, Pike and Perch, and introduced species, Rainbow Trout and Roach. River fishing, bank fishing on lochs, and boat hire are all available. The Hill Lochs are not so easily accessed since there is usually some walking involved, and at certain times of the year, these may be closed for sporting activities and for the safety of everyone.
As far as is possible all the detailed information is correct, but there are regular updates.
Opening times of some sale points may change during the year, and it is advisable to check by phone to avoid any disappointment. Contact telephone numbers and names may alter due to sale of premises or change of office bearers in clubs. Access may be closed due to levels of water or that the number of allowed rods has been taken up on any day.
Exclusion zones are in place for a variety of reasons. Safety, Privacy, SSSI or sensitivity of flora, and specific farming or forestry methods. These areas must be respected.
Methods of fishing have been part of the agreements with riparian owners, and in some areas the local club rules are designed to take account of the type of water which it is permitted to fish.
The Tay System offers a wide range of fishing and the variety of locations will give ample opportunity to satisfy all anglers.
All who fish must clearly understand that "There is no free right to fish for freshwater fish in Scotland"
In general the permitted dates within which fishing for species found in the Tay System is allowed, apply to most waters. However all species are not found in every part of the system, and local agreements also restrict fishing seasons for some species. It is advisable to check with local outlets or via contact names of club secretaries. The website page for Angling Clubs and Organisations gives details, and contact will ensuring the fishing is available when you intend visiting.
The season for Brown Trout is from the 15th of March to the 6th of October. On Hill Lochs where the weather plays a major part in the stocks recovering, access can be restricted to the beginning of May in some areas.
Arctic Char can be fished for during the same dates as brown trout, but again the Hill Lochs can vary. This species is suffering a reduction in population, generally, and there is a policy of catch and release in some of the lochs where these fish stocks have suffered most.
Sporting activities will also play a part in restricting access, for safety reasons, as well as allowing others to follow their chosen pursuits of stalking or grouse shooting. Rainbow Trout fisheries have their own opening and closing dates and a check on these is advised.
Grayling are not spread throughout the system and the waters where they are present are detailed for each area. There is no closed season, but as they spawn in the Spring it is recommended that anglers should not fish for them during the months of April and May.
Coarse Angling normally has a closed season in April when most spawning activity takes place. There are sections where Pike can be fished for at most times of the year. However there are some beats where the season is restricted, due to the agreements with riparian owners, and sometimes specific local rules apply. This growing section of angling also has specific rules on releasing caught fish, and which methods are allowed to be used. Generally dead baiting is with marine species only, and spinning, are the accepted methods.
All anglers are requested to enquire from club secretaries and riparian owners, whether fishing is available when they wish to fish.
Local rule books are compiled for some sections and anglers are advised to enquire if these are available. At all times anglers should follow local guidelines.
Sale outlets give advice and visiting anglers can be given contact names for additional assistance. Local information from angling club members will ensure visitors receive the best advice and will enjoy their fishing within the terms of the Act.
Brown Trout (Salmo Trutta) are to be found throughout the system from small streams to large natural lochs. They come in a variety of colours but the distinctive black spots, sometimes with reddish orange highlights, on their back and sides tells them apart from any close relative. There are some distinctive strains with special genes in some of the small hill lochs, and these are usually darker on the back with bright spots and a yellow or silvery coloured underside. Some of the river trout can also be brownish on the back with a yellowish underside. They are hard fighting fish and anglers seek them out with their favorite fly either wet or dry.
Arctic Char (Salvelinus alpinus) is a survivor from the ice age and can found in deep lochs or lochs at some altitude. They have an olive brown back and silver underside, which on males turns pinkish red at spawning, and reddish tips to the fins. There has been a severe decline in numbers of Arctic Char and anglers are specifically asked to release all these fish and to advise the local Angling Club Secretary of where taken and the approximate weight.
Grayling (Thymallus thymallus), known as 'The Lady of the Stream', is found is fast flowing clear water free from any pollution. They have distinctive high chequered dorsal fin, a slightly purplish sheen to the back and a dark silverish underside. The scales are close knit and have black spots. Freshly caught they smell of thyme, hense the Latin name. These wonderful fish are found in parts of the system and anglers should check with the information on permit page for locations.
Perch (Perca fluviatilis) come in a variation of colours but predominately they have an olive green back, with a paler underside and dark bars on the sides, with the lower fins and tail tinged with red. This coarse fish is found in slow moving weedy waters. It is found mostly in loch edges and canal type water, and anglers should check the permit page for locations.
Pike (Esox lucius) are the top predators in all freshwaters, and specimens are much sough after by coarse anglers. They have a torpedo shaped body, greenish brown with golden green markings. They are to be found in most of the large lochs and slow moving river waters where there is weedy cover. Anglers should check with the permit page for locations.
Roach (Rutilus rutilus) have been introduced into some natural waters a number of years ago, and have become well established in certain areas. At present there are few anglers deliberately fishing for this species but the numbers are increasing.
There are other species of freshwater fish within the system, which are not deliberately fished for except by a very few anglers. They are not therefore specifically named on permits and some on these are protected and named in conservation orders.
Rainbow Trout (Onchorhynchus Mykiss) are stocked in both natural and man made fisheries. They are also in some lochs having escaped from fish farms and not introduced as a deliberate policy. Local information on locations can be obtained.
Brook Lamprey are found in a few locations and are subject to a conservation order, as is the habitat in which they are found.
Stone Loach are found in some of the upland streams usually in small clear waters among gravel areas. These fish are also subject to a conservation order.
Minnows are quite wide spread and can be seen in shoals close to bankings.
Eels can be found in most waters and can be caught without deliberately fishing for them.